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From:  Mark Penner
Date:  Fri Jan 8, 1999  6:17 am
Subject:  Re: actors

At 13:45 01/07/99 -0500, you wrote:
> I don't see how this is any different than how Chinese characters (or
> Japanese Kanji) evolved. They first started with discrete components
> that represented an item or idea and, when used in conjunction with each
> other, represented more complex or abstract concepts. Even today, if you
> look at the symbols for "Japan", there are two characters representing
> sun and east for Japan is the "land of the rising sun".
The difference is that in SignWriting, each "Piece" does not have a
separage meaning. For instance, the "B" hand has no meaning in and of
itself. It takes on meaning only when combined with orientation, location,
and movement. (And, to a degree, facial expression, though for the most
part, face has a more grammatical function than lexical. Actually, now that
I think of it, Face could be thought of as a lexical unit, since it
functions adverbially, at least in Japanese Sign.)

> When you look at more complex characters there are different component
> parts that have their own meaning. That is *exactly* why I consider
> signwriting to be similar to these languages. Disregarding variations,
> a given sign will have a set number and type of components. The very
> fact that signwriting has a dictionary of symbols attests to this.
But in general, you don't combine those set components with other set
components to make new words, you combine them to make sentences, so I
would see it as different than Chinese writing.


Mark and Mary Esther Penner
Tokyo, Japan

  Replies Author Date
850 SignWriting Report, Jan. 9, 1999 Valerie Sutton Sat  1/9/1999

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